tv The Last Word MSNBC December 23, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EST
the final minutes of voting on the 9/11 health bill today. it was held open for an extra hour so a specific congresswoman could come back to make the vote. "nydia velazquez was the last member to vote. she was wearing sweat pants and new balance track shoes. i asked her why it was so important for her to come back. my mother and the 9/11 responders. her 90-year-old mother is in san juan and suffering from bleeding ulcers. her plane landed at 5:20 p.m.
as one blogger for the huffington post puts it "obama had two choices after the midterm election, he could either have had a battle royal with republicans over tax cuts for the wealthy and risk losing this battle. or obama could have cut a deal quickly in return for allowing the senate time to move on many other important issues. he chose to deal. so did the gamble pay off? >> i think it's fair to say this has been the most productive post election period we've had in decades. >> the 9/11 workers legislation. >> a food safety bill, a defense authorization bill. >> and the start nuclear treaty have all come through congress.
>> i think this lame duck session has been anything but lame. >> one thing i hope people have seen during this lame duck, i am persistent. >> you have the tax bill. who remembers the election at this point. >> after a shellacking in the midterms, president obama's scorecard has a number of victories many thought were impossible. >> many wondered if we would get to this point. >> it's not a victory for me, it's a victory for the american people. >> he loves nothing more than to prove people like us wrong. >> instead of gridlock, the lame duck session has turned into a huge step forward for the obama agenda. >> the senate passed the 9/11 bill to help first responders. >> major foreign policy victory for president obama. >> the repeal of don't ask, don't tell is a strong leadership for the white house today. >> gays will begin serving openly in the u.s. military. >> this is done.
>> along with the winds, president obama admits his losses in the battle with congress. >> there are a number of things that i want to get accomplished that we did not get accomplished. >> immigration, gitmo -- >> maybe my biggest disappointment -- >> he could have left town and everyone would have been talking about him as the comeback kid. basically he's changed the subject to what are the fights coming up in the next congress. >> the president is already looking ahead to the new year, and the fight ahead with the incoming republican leadership. >> they don't want barack obama to have all of these successes going into the new year. >> merry christmas, happy holidays, happy new year. see you in 2011. >> good evening from los angeles. i'm lawrence o'donnell. at his press conference two
weeks ago, president obama defended himself against liberal critics who accused him of selling out his principles for the tax cut deal. today president obama declared victory for his strategy of compromise in a post midterm election season of progress. >> democrats and republicans came together to approve my top national security priority for this congress. we also overturned a 17-year-old law and a longstanding injustice by finally ending don't ask, don't tell. in addition, we came together across party lines to pass a food safety bill, the biggest upgrade of america's food safety laws since the great depression. i hope the house will soon join the senate in passing a 9/11 health bill that will help cover the health care costs of police officers, firefighters, rescue workers and residents who inhale toxic air near the world trade
center on that terrible morning and the days that followed. so i think it's fair to say that this has been the most productive post election period we've had in decades. >> a new cnn poll finds that 56% of americans support how obama has handled the lame duck session, while only 42% aprove of how the republicans have performed during the same period. president obama's post election reversal of fortune has republican senator lindsey graham worried. >> when is it all going to be said and done? harry reid has eaten our lunch. >> what about president obama's critics on the left? are they finally ready to join their president on his victory lap? joining me now are jane hampshire founder of firedoglake.com. roger hodge, author of "the mendacity of hope." richard wolf, the arthur of "revival" and ezra klein
columnist for "the washington post." roger hodge, you are the president's staunchest critic on the left. is there anything that's happened in the lame duck session that has in anyway tilted you in a more positive direction toward president barack obama? >> not reilly. i think that the repeal of don't ask don't tell is a major step forward. that's a wonderful victory for the american people for civil rights, it's a great thing. everyone who was involved with that should be commended. even joe lieberman. and -- but this is not necessarily a major change in the obama administration. the obama administration is working with republicans, and that's not surprising. the obama administration has a
lot in common with the republicans. the obama administration is still poised to suggest cuts in social security. there are reports that the president is planning to introduce an austerity plan in his state of the union address. that would preempt cuts demanded by the republicans in the next session of congress. so i think in a few months we may have -- we'll probably have forgotten all about this extraordinary lame duck session and we'll be fighting for the remnants of the new deal going-forward. >> so roger, let me get this straight. you have a kind word for joe lieberman tonight but nothing positive to say about barack obama? >> no, doi. i think he deserves all due credit for helping get this passed. i mean, he's had an extraordinary session. but really my concern is not with these fluctuations in momentum and popularity. my concern really is with basic
principles and protecting what little we have left of a social safety net in this country. >> jane hampshire, let's listen to what president obama said today about the disappointed left regarding his tax cut deal and the tax rates for the wealthy. >> i completely understand why not just democrats, but some republicans might think that that part of the tax package we could have done without. having said that i want to repeat, compromise by definition means taking some things you don't like. and the overall package was the right one to ensure that this economy has the best possible chance to grow and create jobs. and in is no beran tter anti-poverty program than an economy that's growing. and if the economy started contracting as it might have had we not gotten this tax agreement, the choices we would
have to make would be even tougher. >> was the overall package the right one as the president states? and if he had not made that deal, would we have gotten to don't ask don't tell and everything else that's been accomplished in the lame duck session? >> we got to don't ask don't tell and everything else, the unanimous consent going-forward on the budget resolution blew up, so harry reid slipped don't ask don't tell in over the objections of the white house who wented to proceed to the start treaty. i think there are four things we can look at and take as lessons in the situation. this is what it looks like when harry reid really wants to move something. he has many tools at his disposal when he wants to get
something done, and he did it. number two, it was the groups who would not take no for an answer. get equal, the 9/11 health care. the first responders who came here, who demonstrated, chained themselves to the white house, who followed the president around and heckled and absolutely would not take no for an answer, who got their issues addressed. number three, you've got -- we finally see what it's like when a man with public opinion at his back grabs the bully pulpit, goes out and tries to shame the republicans into agreeing to something that is broadly popular. unfortunately, that man's name is jon stewart, and that's why the 9/11 health care bill got passed. and number four, and i think this is the most important part. we saw don't ask don't tell, the food safety bill, 9/11 health
care and the unemployment extension, all of which were extremely popular with the public between 65% and 80% popularity, the things that people are celebrating today. what can we say about all of those things? those are liberal things. those are liberal agenda. they are not by definition to the left, because with 65 to 80% support, they are centrist. that's where the country is. so the things that liberals have been telling the president to do are popular. and the response that the country has prove that that is something that he will actually reap a whole lot of popular support for if he actually gets out there and fights for things like this. >> jane's first point, maybe harry reid deserves more credit than anything else in what has been accomplished in this lame duck session. i think i may be leaning toward jane on that one. how do you see it? >> harry reid deserves a lot of credit for what's happened in this lame duck session. i don't think anyone's been as
successful keeping his caucus together like he has. these things wouldn't have gotten done, a lot of them, like the food safety bill. what happened with a lot of these different bills. i think this is interesting, a lot of these establishment republicans, the guys on the stark treaty and the moderates, i think they realized if they didn't get this stuff done now, when their colleagues came in in 2011, they weren't going to get it done. these new revolutionaries in the house and senate, weren't going to go back because of what was passed in the senate and go back through. the folks needed to say, listen, we're not in an election right now, we have a month here, and they did it. they moved food safety, defense authorization, don't ask don't tell. they wanted to legislate. legislation lace is not as powerful to them as getting re-elected. it's a shame we can't see more of that public spirit more often.
>> richard wolf, i think jane has a solid point about how much credit harry reid deserves, he doesn't need the credit for another six years if he's going to run in six years. barack obama needs the credit right now, as he begins the re-election cycle for the presidency. in the polling we're seeing right now, it looks like he's getting that credit. isn't this polk result exactly what the white house was angling for when they started to make the deal with the republicans on the tax bill so they could then move on to these other successes? >> sure, but it's early days. first of all, they had to prove they had life in them yet, they could stage their own revival and they've done that. they had to build support among those independent voters, the people who drifted away. that's what the tax bill did. also, alongside that list of legislative accomplishments, you have to see how the politics has changed here. i'm not talking about the base and whether they like him or not. just inside the belt way, look at how the republican strategy the last two years has fallen
apart. mitch mcconnell couldn't keep his caucus together on the stark treaty. it's not just an establishment figure, he's part of his own leadership. the discipline that mcconnell had very successfully to make the president seem extremist, unacceptable and not the bipartisan figure he he tried to portray himself as in 2008. all that's gone, that's as much of an accomplishment as any piece of this legislation. it opens up a completely new path to 2012 over the next two years. >> that is not the last word on the lame duck session. we'll have more to talk about with our panel after the break. also coming up, why is senator john mccain opposed to giving suicide prevention help to reservists returning from war zones. and later, bill maher's christmas message to america will not be a favorite thing of oprahs. last word celebrity disagreement correspondent michael muss toe joins us. ready sensei. hey tough guy, that cold needs alka seltzer plus! it has the cold-fighting power of an effervescent
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the president's scorecard is full of big wins over the last several weeks, once the republicans take control of the house in january, will it be a whole new ball game in d.c.? our panel will consider that one. and in our continuing series, what's wrong with john mccain? why is he saying no to giving our reservists who fight overseas suicide prevention help? and sarah palin earns another rewrite, but this time it's from someone in her own party. hey... everyone's eating tacos outside bill's office. [ chuckles ] you think that is some information i would have liked to know?
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endless gridlock. we've shown in the wake of the november elections that we have the capacity not only to make progress, but to make progress together. and i'm not naive, i know there will be tough fights in the months ahead. but my hope heading into the new year is that we can continue to heed the message of the american people and hold to a spirit of common purpose in 2011 and beyond. >> we're back with richard wolf, ezra klein, jane hamsher and richard stone. what tells us the most about what we're going to see next year? is it the 9/11 responders vote, where democrats were able to over time get enough momentum by just staying with, staying with it? was it the start -- the treaty vote, where mitch mcconnell really got just steam rolled? it looked like the republicans were going to be able to hold
that up, but he lost republicans. the democrats kept pushing, they never flinched. which of these votes that we've seen indicates what you expect to see more of next year? >> well, i'd say the two book ends are the tax deal and the start treaty. weirdly the start treaty is where the white house campaigned the hardest on, this is a dry piece of legislation that, yes, has important national security ramifications, but gets down to things like telemetry. the white house campaigned on it, they really ran it hard. i think that's important, look at the result. they really did decimate mcconnell, they made him look foolish. the tax thing on the positioning, that's why people are not happy. what did that compromise give them? along with everything else that followed. 800 billion of the 900 billion was on things the democrats wanted. that's the kind of promise you
get from a guy who says he can unite red and blue america. that's who he's always been. those two things together about the president, about how they should campaign moving forward really give you a sense of where they're going to play for the next two years. >> ezra, the one thing they couldn't get done was the dream act. the president was very disappointed about that. let's listen to what he had to say about that. >> one thing i hope people have seen during this lame duck, i am persistent. i am persistent. i -- you know, if i believe in something strongly, i stay on it. and i believe strongly in this. and i am happy to engage with the republicans about, if they've got ideas about more on border security, i'm happy to have that conversation. and i think that is absolutely appropriate for the american people to expect that we don't have porous borders and anybody can come in here any time.
that is entirely legitimate. but i also think about those kids. and i want to do right by them. and i think the country is going to want to do right by them as well. >> ezra, the story of those kids who would be affected by the dream act is for many the moving kind of story that we saw told about the 9/11 responders, the kind of -- there's a kind of emotionalism that can be brought to this political argument that may be able to get some traction this year. do you expect the president to push on that one in the next session? >> yes, although for a couple reasons, one of the things you need to realize about the president. he was talking to a particularly angry constituency. he would do comprehensive immigration reform in year one. unlike a lot of the other things he worked on, he didn't try that. he never gave that a shot.
he went with him today not only in that congress, but said, listen i will push on this next year, i promise i will make this a thing. he's trying to deal with a major vote for him, in the census this month that just came out, we saw as an enormous shift in america toward hispanics, immigrants. he does owe them more than he's given them. the dream act -- that emotional line on the dream act was important for him to show, he cares about this. they're going to be watching, and what i think people should be watching is whether he puts political capital behind this. they did not push dream the way they pushed start. that was not one of their priorities at this level. these are good words, but we'll see what gets done in 2011 or 2012 on it. >> what are the lessons for liberal activists in approaching the obama administration and the
legislative calendar next year? one thing that interested me a lot was watching joe lieberman go from voting with the republicans on the tax votes that they took, thereby killing any hope in the senate of getting what the democrats wanted on taxes, and then being one of the heroes if not the hero in the senate on getting don't ask don't tell repealed. and that's a long story in the senate. where the guy who's killing you today could be your best friend tomorrow on what you're trying to do. what do you think liberal activists will take out of this lame duck session as their lessons for the coming year? >> well, joe lieberman is up for re-election in 2012. so everybody gets really fond of democrats and their base, the people they want to come out and vote for them when that happens. expect to see more of joe warming to his liberal constituents. i think the most important thing we can look at is again the people who got their issues addressed. the people who were unrelenting. the people not the people that played the inside game. it was the outside game that won this time. they put themselves in there and they never accepted the excuses. we did see what it's like, what
fierce advocacy is like from the white house, in the form of what they did on start. they called members of the senate. they whipped, they arranged for briefings, they had joe biden out there. the president was using the bully pulpit. and if he's not doing that as he wasn't on the dream act or on don't ask don't tell, then we know it's not a priority for them. and those activists did not accept the kabuki, they said, we want the full monty, we want the whole thing and we're not going to take anything less. i think that's why we're all sitting here celebrating today, because they were uncompromising in what they wanted. >> roger hodge, first an apology. my jet lag made me refer to you as roger stone. i'm very sorry for that. in the congressional session, do you think as barack obama moves into re-election mode, you're going to see him work more toward his liberal base or work more toward the middle? or somehow try to do both? >> i fear that obama will move toward the center, move toward
the right. he will -- i don't think he really cares that much about the liberal base. i think we're going to see a lot of very disappointing developments. i mentioned before the reports about a rumored preemptive strike on an austerity plan, which is precisely the wrong thing to do. we're still in a serious downturn. unemployment is almost 10%. we have a financial crisis that is not fully resolved, the foreclosure crisis continues. we have foreclosure fraud that the administration has not dealt with. there has not been enough relief going toward homeowners. we have banks foreclosing on there has not been enough relief going toward homeowners. we have banks foreclosing on houses that are -- that they do not own. and we have these looming wars.
we have reports also about an executive order on indefinite detention. so we have a president, a democratic president who is allegedly progressive, who has now thrown some serious bones to progressive constituencies, but we still have vital interests that we have to pursue. and the wars are serious, and on going. >> roger hodge, you're going to have to get the last word on this, that's all the time we have for the panel. thank you all for joining me tonight. senator john mccain knows firsthand the personal mental anguish sparked by war. so why is he standing in the way of getting suicide prevention assistance to reservists who have seen combat? and the amazing assistance provided by you, our viewing audience. we'll see how much ann coulter provoked you to contribute to our special project.
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a special thanks tonight to friend of the show ann coulter. last night she made her debut here on the last word in a video clip from fox news where she said "liberals are the least charitable with their money." that turned out to be the perfect introduction on our update on how much the last word audience has contributed to the k.i.n.d. fund, kids in need of desks.
the unique partnership msnbc has formed with unicef to provide desks for children in africa. they learn to read and write sitting on the floor. most of them will never see a desk or chair in a classroom. when i delivered my first report on this last week, your outpouring of generosity shocked unicef. in one day you contributed $400,000. then over the weekend with no further prompting you contributed another $200,000. i reported that $600,000 total on monday's show which provoked you to send another $127,991 over the next 24 hours. then last night ann coulter with her provocative statement inspired you to give even more. ann helped us bring in another
$145,000 in contributions so that as of tonight you have contributed a total of $873,511. we are now very close to being able to deliver desks to three of the four districts in ma law we we have targeted for the first stage of this project. we have received some big donations, one for $36,000 from miles nadal, who heard me talk about this on "morning joe." but no contribution is too small. $48 buys a desk that seats two children. $24 gets one child off the floor. and just might connect that child to the learning experience as never before. if you go to lastworddesks.msnbc.com or call 1-800-for-kids, you can buy a desk as a last minute gift for someone on your list who has just about everything. and unicef will send your gift but no contribution is too small. $48 buys a desk that seats two children. $24 gets one child off the floor. and just might connect that child to the learning experience
as never before. if you go to lastworddesks.msnbc.com or call 1-800-for-kids, you can buy a desk as a last minute gift for someone on your list who has just about everything. and unicef will send your gift recipient an e-mail saying a desk has been donated in his or her name. i announced last night that i bought a desk as a christmas present for ann coulter. according to the comments on our blog, i was not the only one. so thank you ann for helping to inspire the last word audience to continue to outdo themselves during this season of giving. and to our audience, i am struggling each night now to find the appropriate words of thanks for what you are doing for african students and for the families of the malawi workers who will make their desks.
for now, another simple thank you will have to suffice. and tomorrow night i will report the total unicef has processed as christmas eve approaches. also, you may remember last night i told you about a teacher who left a comment on our blog. r. ellison. he pulled all his students' desks from the classroom and had them try sitting on the floor. he sent us this picture of his class. his students are now working together to raise money for the k.i.n.d. fund. mr. ellison and some his students will join us tomorrow night right here on the last word. ncer ] open up a cadillac during our season's best sales event and receive the gift of asphalt. experience the exhilarating cadillac cts with a direct injection v6. it's the one gift you can open up all year long.
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surely a war veteran who spent five and a half years as a pow in vietnam would want to do anything he could to help those coming home from the battlefields of afghanistan and iraq. but as the bag tries to deal with an epidemic of suicides among the troopse thnumber's nearly doubling over the last five years, one congressman says his efforts to help those who went to war and now cope with the mental scars has been blocked by john mccain. it would mean $10 million, a tiny figure by washington standards. a tiny number in defense spending to start an outreach program for those coming home from active duty to do something called individual ready reserve, or irr. essentially, keeping them on call to return from civilian life to combat if needed. that's what army sergeant coleman bean did.
serving twice in iraq. but his family says when he came home to new jersey he couldn't get the help he needed for dealing with ptsd and in 2008 he took his own life. that tragedy moved democratic representative rush holt to create the provision which was ultimately cut from the defense spending bill passed today in the house. joining me now, congressman holt of new jersey. could you just explain this $10 million provision? what it -- why it was needed in addition to the other mental health resources that are already available to veterans? >> well, lawrence, you explained the background well. when sergeant bean killed himself, i talked to his family. and pledged to do what i could to see that this sort of thing would never happen again. to their credit, they conducted really studies around the country and it was apparent to
us that we need outreach. it's not enough to let these veterans or the reservists self-diagnose, and if they imagine they have a problem, go see somebody. it's really important to get them where they are. and so this provision that the house has passed twice now, the house of representatives, would provide for trained counselors to reach out to these reservists at least every 90 days, probably by phone or in person to see how they're adjusting to civilian life. it's a -- i think a fairly straightforward common sense approach. and as i say, it passed the house twice. it disappeared in the house/senate conference. last year it was because of objections by unnamed senators for unspecified reasons.
the same thing happened this time, except that i began to suspect that senator mccain had something to do with it, so i spoke with him. and indeed, he said, this is an overreach. in order to -- this proactive approach is really unnecessary. and, you know, i -- you have said, and i -- or people are now very much aware that the rate of suicides in the military is greater than in the general population. it is growing. you know, it's -- 10% higher among the military than the general population, among marines it's 20% higher. clearly there's a need for outreach here. and when i said this to senator mccain, he just essentially got mad and said don't lecture to me about military suicides. i said, i wasn't lecturing, i'm just explaining the need and why we need to do something to reach out. so anyway, now i know why it's disappeared from the defense
authorization bill. earlier in the program, you were talking about all the legislation that's been done since the election. a lot of good things, the defense authorization bill has some good features and some bad features, actually, but this should have been in there. >> now, was it -- senator mccain getting mad when confronted on legislative activity is a very common experience for senators who have dealt with him before. as they can all report. but when he talks about don't give me a lecture, it sounds to me like he needs a lecture on these suicide figures. did it -- did you have the sense that he was getting new information when you were telling him what was happen something what the statistical, the horrifying new statistical picture of military suicide looks like?
>> you know, i don't know how -- you know, how much he knows about the situation. i presume he does, because everyone hears about this. and anyone who either goes to hearings of the armed services committee or interacts with military brass or the veteran's administration surely knows about the effort that the dod is undertaking, that the va is undertaking. this legislation, i think, is important -- this provision that i inserted in the bill, because it deals with the reservists who often fall between the cracks, they're not looked after by the va, they're not in a regular military unit. they're often on their own between deployments, and so i think there's a particular need
for these reservists. it's hard to get the statistics on suicide rates among these categories. it appears there is a real need here. senator mccain, you know, said at one point, well, maybe you need this in new jersey. but we don't need it in arizona. well, i beg to differ. i think we need it in all 50 states and the territories, wherever people are serving. >> just absolutely shocking. maybe you need this in new jersey, we don't need it in arizona. congressman rush holt, democrat of new jersey, thank you for your time tonight. >> i'll keep working on it, we need it. thank you. sarah palin's camp fire attack against first lady michelle obama is firing up the gop. a fellow republican and presidential primary opponent of palin's is trying to get the last word against palin. that's tonight's rewrite. bill maher's christmas address to the world. he says oprah winfrey has made it clear, the real reason for the season. last word's holiday cheer correspondent michael musto will referee the fight between bill and oprah. should i have all of my policies with nationwide insurance ?
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republican fight club. someone in the gop is taking on sarah palin for attacking michelle obama. and that person is also a fellow employee of fox news. details in tonight's rewrite. is bill maher saying there's a war on christmas and it's oprah's fault? michael musto gets the last word. ♪ [ male announcer ] you know her. we know diamonds. and with 25% off our best selling jewelry, together we'll find the perfect gift, right down to the wire. that's why only zales is the diamond store.
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time for tonight's rewrite. as the food fight between michelle obama and sarah palin continues, mrs. obama now has an unexpected ally. this whole thing started in july when the first lady was promoting her let's move initiative to get healthy food to american children while fighting the enormous juvenile obesity epidemic. >> kids won't like it at first, trust me. but they'll grow to like it. or deciding that they don't get dessert with every meal. as i tell my kids, dessert is not a right. or they don't get it every day. >> then on sunday the latest edition of the newest reality show featuring the most recent vice presidential candidate who will never be president aired on tlc, and sarah palin took on the first lady lying about what you just heard michelle obama say. >> where's the s'mores? this is an honor michelle obama
said the other day. enter mike huckabee who has done his share of healthy and unhealthy eating. here's what he had to say yesterday. with all due respect to my colleague and friend sarah palin, i think she's misunderstood what michelle obama's trying to do. she's not trying to tell people what to eat or not trying to force the government's desires on people. but she's stating the obvious, that we do have an obesity crisis in this country. and the health care costs are staggering, with 80% of health care costs in this country going toward chronic disease, a lot of which is caused by obesity. the first lady's campaign is on target, and it's not saying that you can't or shouldn't ever eat a dessert, but it's saying, if you start rewarding kids with sugary things and make them think when they're good they get
sugar and when they're bad they have to eat vegetables. you do what happened, really what happened to me and a lot of people. we condition ourselves to think we're really only good when we're sugaring it up. >> thank you, mike huckabee. she's the host of the highest rated talk show in american history. ohhhh.... will you marry me? oooh, helzberg diamonds. yeah, well he must have saved some money with geico. reminds me of the gecko mating call. really? how does that go? shoo be doo be doo. geico. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance. everyone's eating tacos outside bill's office. [ chuckles ] you think that is some information i would have liked to know?
and every year around the holidays she airs an episode in which she gives away some of her favorite things. but this year one episode wasn't enough. the 300 audience members for the first episode of oprah's ultimate favorite things received a free 52-inch 3-d television, seven-day cruise plus 20 other gifts. those present for the second episode received a free ipad, diamond earrings, a 2012 volkswagen beetle and 17 other gifts. and then scrooge -- i mean, bill maher has a problem with that. >> merry christmas. i saw one of the most deeply disturbing things i've ever seen on television last month. here's how it was shown on the nbc evening news. >> if you had tickets for the oprah winfrey show for any day of this year, this was the day you wanted. this was her final annual favorite things.
audience members will need a wheelbarrow to take home all their stuff. >> how can you look at this and not immediately know what, at the core, is so rotten about this country? this is our real religion, greed. oprah's show purports to be a lot about spirituality. if it was, then wouldn't she tell her worshipping flock to sit down and stop losing your [ bleep ] over material stuff? >> joining me now from the village voice and daily musto.com blog, michael musto. i will never be brave enough to pick sides in a clash between two show business giants like bill and oprah. so can you help me find a way to say they're both right?
>> well, i just came from a free meal, lawrence, so i'm the perfect person for this story. i think they're both a little right. i love bill maher, he's funny and insightful. he is right about oprah sending mixed messages. >> be careful with the rest of your answer. >> she's pan dering to greed, isn't that what all television show does? it's about commercials and selling merchandise to the public. at least she gave it away. in this economy, people are basically eating dirt for dinner, she's saying, here's a crimping iron, you'll love it until you have to pay taxes on them. >> what is going to happen to american television when oprah moves on? sarah palin seems to be waiting in the wings. oprah said she saw sarah palin's show on tlc, and they said, she's charming and very likeable. is sarah palin on her way to becoming the next oprah?
>> well, oprah's clearly lost her mind in addition to her talk show. she's lost all faculty here. sarah palin needs to become a reality show footnote. which i'm sure will happen come 2012. i'm more worried about oprah winfrey, and her new network, own. this is perfect time for christmas, it's always been a battle between jesus and santa. the spiritual, and if you weren't good, you don't get your cha-cha heels. we do forget to commemorate jesus and oprah. but we don't forget to buy things, do we? >> what about the civic duty side of oprah? she couldn't possibly be doing more to stimulate the economy than all of this spending on her audience? >> she's increasing tax payments that will be coming